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Old January 28, 2014, 02:13 PM   #1
Dixie Gunsmithing
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Boys Anti-Tank Rifle

I thought some of the smiths on here might be interested in this, along with any who works with bolt action rifles, or recoil suppression. Take a look at this military training video made by Disney on the Boys Anti-Tank Rifle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlJD0pZp4eQ
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Old January 28, 2014, 07:37 PM   #2
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Poking fun at the enemy can be effective in boosting morale, but it might also lead us into minimizing the threat and underestimating the forces arrayed against us. Hitler was neither a silly man nor a cartoon clown. He was deadly serious and Nazi Germany was a deadly menace, defeated, not by a few Boys rifles, but by the full power of the British Commonwealth, the United States, and the Soviet Union. And it was a close run thing at that, requiring six years of all-out war.

That movie was made in 1942, by which time the Boys had been made obsolete by heavier German tanks, against which no rifle like the Boys was effective. Only shaped charge projectiles such as those fired by the PIAT and the "Bazooka" could defeat heavy armor.

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Old January 28, 2014, 07:55 PM   #3
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Is this like the Cricket - a boy's first rifle?
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Old January 28, 2014, 08:17 PM   #4
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Some cricket! The Boys kicks like hell and packs a punch, but it was really an obsolete concept by the time it was deployed. The Browning .50 MG was first intended as an anti-tank weapon, on the same principle, but by WWII it was pretty much obsolete in that role and achieved its greatest fame as an aircraft machine gun, though it was used on the ground against personnel, light vehicles, light armor and unarmored barricades.

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Old January 28, 2014, 08:19 PM   #5
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Ahh yes, "Forgotten Weapons", my favorite YouTube channel.


As James K pointed out, anti tank rifles (Boys, Lahti, etc) were insufficient against tanks by the 1940s. They are however still somewhat effective against lighter armored vehicles and equipment. Think "light 50", without the "light" part...

Because of the punishing recoil, it was a common quip among British soldiers that one should receive the Victoria Cross simply for firing the "double nickel."
Concussions were not uncommon, and detached retinas and bloody noses were also sometimes suffered by the poor sod behind the trigger.
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Old January 28, 2014, 09:19 PM   #6
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I can tell you from my vast experience (one round) that the recoil is bad. You might have noticed that the pistol grip is sloped forward and there is a reason for that. If it had the traditional grip shape (like an AR-15) the hand would be trapped in the angle and take a beating.

But it didn't shatter armor like the picture shows. AFAIK, it used the same type of AP bullet as the U.S. used, a jacket, lead mantel and penetrator core. That type of bullet doesn't penetrate by brute force, but by the bullet strike resulting in a heat dump as the energy is converted to heat, melting the plate and allowing the penetrator to go through.

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Old January 28, 2014, 09:33 PM   #7
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The Boy's could actually outperform itself now, against armor, but it would be over a certain ammo that nobody really cares to handle, or even breathe around.

The Boy's and the Browning were designed around piercing vertical armor plate, that wasn't too thick, as you can see by the video. This goes back to the WWI tanks. However, in the video, they admit that after the plate is at a certain angle, you might as well hang it up. Add that to much thicker plate, with angles everywhere, and the 50 0r 55 calibers didn't stand a chance with the ammo then.

When we entered WWII, we were already way behind the Germans in armor, tanks, planes, ships, the list goes on. Of course, they had been building up with new designs not really long after WWI, while we sat idly around. I would have hated to be in one of our light or medium tanks, and be against a German Panzer.

Anyhow, the Boy's has some ideas on its recoil suppression system that might come in use now with the big .50 BA's folks are shooting.
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Old January 28, 2014, 10:09 PM   #8
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One little known fact about the Boys is that the British supplied a number of these guns to the US Marine Corps, who put them to use in the Pacific theater, where they were found to be somewhat useful in dealing with Japanese armor and bunkers.
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Old January 28, 2014, 10:58 PM   #9
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After looking at the suppressor on the front of this, it would be easy to make, except I think they allow the gas to dissipate too much, or in two wide of a jet. The ports angle needs to be steeper, and the ports narrowed a good bit to raise the compression of the gas. The thing I caught was the easy manufacture of the two-piece suppressor and it ports, where one could turn each section on a lathe, but it needs to be sectioned off several more times.

The shock spring in the stock assembly is okay, but a good heavy dose of mercury, or a spring loaded sliding lead weight with it, would add a good bit to counter the recoil of this design.
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Old January 29, 2014, 10:16 AM   #10
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It would have been an effective weapon against halftracks and the like. It filled a role similar to the modern Barrett sniper rifle. It could still do significant damage when targeted at things like running gear and light-armored vehicles. It could also turn enemy cover into concealment. Of course, Japanese tanks were an absolute joke and easy prey even for .50 caliber rounds. Even our light Chafee tank was much larger and more capable, as seen in a comparison video taken shortly after the war (sorry, I can't find it now). The Japanese tanks were really intended for an anti-infantry role, a role they were adequate at against the primitive Chinese military.
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Old January 30, 2014, 03:10 PM   #11
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I'm in love

I this would be the best zombie killer !! Where do I sign up to get one !!
All kidding aside I wonder how many of these weapons are still out there !
Some years ago a Maine trooper stopped a gentleman towing a trailer with what appeared to be an anti aircraft gun . When questioned the gentleman said he had bought it at an estate sale... when the trooper checked further there were also racks of ammo in the trailer !!
The rest of the story : during WWII coastal defense positions had been set up along the coast , manned by men over the age to serve , they would man their gun and scan the horizon for enemy U boats .
When the war ended there was great joy ... these guys waited for the war dept to come get the guns and ammo... they never came !!
The government never said a word but in the early 70's the guns that could be found were finally rounded up.... that is the ones they could find !!
So if you come across an old farm along the Eastern coast... check the barn real well , you never know what you may find !
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Old February 2, 2014, 05:25 AM   #12
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Read memoire of a few famous WWII Russian snipers. They mentioned extensive use of anti-tank rifles, not by themselves but other troops in their units, in battle of of Stalingrad and the sort. Mainly for destroying German bunkers, sniper nests, and machine gun placements. Similar role as bazookas I guess.

BTW, they, the snipers, also shouldered submachine guns. When things were getting too hot too close, they would ditch their scoped Mosins and fired SMGs full auto. Also there were more snipers in a company than I had thought, which was a Russian army concept I suppose.

-TL

Last edited by tangolima; February 2, 2014 at 10:58 AM.
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Old February 2, 2014, 01:56 PM   #13
Dixie Gunsmithing
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tangolima,

Russia also employed a lot of women for the job as sniper too. I saw that on a documentary somewhere, History Channel I believe, but it was meant to show how they did use a lot of female soldiers during WWII. They did more than our WACs if the program was correct.

The video did also show them using it to cripple tank tracks, and slewing bearings for the turrets, however, getting a round to hit the bearing, at a good distance might have been near impossible. The tracks would have been a way better target.

Anyhow, the Boy's really did have a lot of other uses, if they would have used them for it.
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Old February 2, 2014, 02:10 PM   #14
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Actual Soviet sniper teams were most often deployed in teams of two or three people, the sniper, armed with the Moisin Nagant or SVT, and a spotter armed with a submachine gun who served as close in protection for the sniper.

Some snipers were known to work solo.

The "snipers" who were attached to unit formations weren't snipers in the conventional sense, they were what we most often call sharpshooters or designated marksmen.
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Old February 2, 2014, 02:29 PM   #15
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"The video did also show them using it to cripple tank tracks, and slewing bearings for the turrets, however, getting a round to hit the bearing, at a good distance might have been near impossible."

I don't see how it would have been possible to hit the slew ring bearings with anything other than a small cannon capable of penetrating the turret armor.

Here's a diagram of a Tiger Tank's slew ring assembly. For a bullet to get under the armor mantle and actually hit a bearing it would have to take, at a minimum, SEVEN right turns.

http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/ww...verse_Lock.jpg
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Old February 2, 2014, 04:11 PM   #16
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I may be getting off topic here, but a few more things from the memoire.

1. One author recalled a friend of his, a big fellow, was a anti-tank rifleman. The rifle was heavy as hell (don't know whether it was a Boys). But his friend was so strong that he could maneuvered it around like a toy gun. They were defending the tractor factory in Stalingrad, fighting day and night in the rubble of the factory buildings.

2. Both 2 authors mostly operated alone.

3. It may be a something loss in translation, they were all called snipers. But I can tell from the context that most of them are what we call designated marksmen. A few of them were senior snipers, and they were assigned to counter sniping, stalking valuable targets and the sort.

4. One author recalled an rare incident that a dozen or so snipers were tasked to defend a hill. It was out of desperation as the commander couldn't get a platoon from anywhere for the job. They held up a battalion of Germans for weeks till reinforcement finally came. Only 5 of them survived.

5. They mostly took on targets less than 500 meters away. One time one of the author, a top rated sniper, was asked to take out a target some 800 meters away. He didn't take the shot as he was not confident. He ended up risking his life crawling close to the target in machine gun fire to finish the job.

6. One of the author's close comrade was a female sniper. They were supporting their unit retaking a town, firing their mosins non-stop while their comrade were charging into the town. The Germans retreated. He and the female sniper thought they were safe and started walking into the town. A hidden German submachine gunner got them. The female sniper died in his arms.

7. One of the books includes a reprint of an order from the supreme Soviet, signed by Joseph Stalin himself. The translation basically said no retreat would be allowed from then on. Any unit who disobeyed this order, the CO would be executed and the junior officers and enlisted men would be sent to the the punishment companies, where they would be given the last chance to redeem themselves.

- TL
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Old February 2, 2014, 09:18 PM   #17
Dixie Gunsmithing
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Mike,

I don't know if the pic will show up from Wikipedia, but below is a turret on a Tiger 2. You can see the ring guard just under it at the front. If one could get a shot in there, I think it could stop a turret, if it could penetrate the ring, as all you need to do is deform or crack the ring to jam the balls up.

On the Tiger 1, I can't really tell if that is the guard for the slewing bearing, or something else, but it looks like the job would be much harder on a Tiger 1. The boxiness of the chassis and turret would keep a clear shot from being aimed by someone on a lower elevation. However if that is the slewing bearing one can see, it looks like it ran right to the outside of the turret, similar to the drawing.

Anyhow, the best bet would be to bust the tracks drive sprocket, or try to separate the track, and stop the beast, before going after the turret.

Tiger 2 turret:



Tiger 1:


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Old February 3, 2014, 11:57 PM   #18
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Incidentally, the Boys, at .55 caliber, is a Destructive Device under US law, so buying one would involve a hassle, mainly finding a dealer.

Jim
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Old February 4, 2014, 01:12 AM   #19
Willie Lowman
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The last time I was in Aumiller's, he had a Boy's rifle for sale but no ammo.

This was a few years ago.
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